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Saturday, October 24 2020 @ 11:11 am EDT

A Grand New Holloway Comet Observatory

General NewsBack in action after a lightning strike destroyed all his original equipment in August 2006, AOAS astrophotographer Mike Holloway has upgraded his equipment and is now imaging comets, nebulae and galaxies better than ever.

A new Losmandy G-11 mount, carrying the new TeleVue NP-127is refractor tube and the SBIG camera are the new replacement components of Mike Holloway's private observatory located about 12 miles NW of Van Buren, AR.
You could only imagine how it felt if it had happened to you. Mike Holloway had to deal with a balking insurance agent, an obstinate high-end CCD imager manufacturing company, a VERY long waiting period for a replacement of his primary telescope, and the sheer frustration of watching thousands of dollars worth of fine instrumentaion turned into extremely beautiful paperweights. But, now that he's returning to full operation in his private Holloway Comet Observatory, he's finally happy once again.

Happy can be a relative term sometimes, but Mike really is happy again. Part of the reason for that is in how he had to deal with all the ins-and-outs of buying new equipment that would replace the fried refractor, mount and imager which were destroyed by a direct lightning strike on August 4, 2006. Anyone would be happy if you had the same equipment that Mike now has to work with on a regular basis.

Take the new refractor, now a TeleVue NP-127is, a 5" f/5.2 refractor that replaced the ridiculously backordered Takashi FSQ 106ED, a 4" refractor. As Mike told me on a recent visit to his observatory to grab some imaging pointers, "This thing is SOOO much better than that 4", I just can't believe it. I'm much happier with this one."

His other mount was the Losmandy G-8, which, like everything else, was totally lost to the forces of Mother Nature.
Comet C/2006 M4 Swan in this 7-image mosaic taken October 29, 2006 by Mike Holloway. This was one of Mike's first comet images after getting some of his equipment replaced. The telescope is his new TeleVue NP-127is on a Losmandy G-11 mount with an SBIG ST2000 camera.
He now has upgraded that to the Losmandy G-11, and again he's much more happy with this new mount as opposed to the G-8. "It's sturdier, smoother, and handles this new tube assembly with ease," said Mike. He feels the extra cost of the G-11 was almost cheap in comparison to the increased load capacity and greater overall compatibility with his other new components.

And then there is that expensive CCD camera from Finger Lakes Instruments that was virtually blown to bits from the energy released in the lightning strike. You'd think that after selling him one camera, the company would at the very least be willing to sell him another new identical camera for the price of the first one. Somehow, though, they didn't see it that way and Mike settled on buying a new SBIG ST-10XMEI, one of the most sensitive and sophisticated imaging CCD's in the marketplace. Yep....Mike's a happy, happy guy!

Click read more to see some deep-sky objects with ALL of Mike's new equipment in FULL use.

Only 5 minutes of recorded grey-scale data was all it took to make this fantastically detailed image of the central region of M-31, the Andromeda Galaxy.


Click to see 5 images from our Photo Gallery on page 8 to see several of Mike Holloway's great images of deep-space targets such as the Horsehead Nebula, the Crab Nebula, the Dumbell Nebula, the Great Nebula in Orion, Open Cluster M-52, all from our Photo Gallery on pg 8; and two others on page 9 of M-78 and the "Gulf Region" of the North American Nebula. Once in the Gallery, click each object to enlarge them for the best views.
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